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Old 02-13-2023, 03:48 PM   #1
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Join Date: May 2019
Location: Humboldt County, California
Trailer: 2009 Escape 19
Posts: 177
CO and Propane Alarms

This is a tale of one thing leads to another. I recently replaced the WFCO electrical control panel in my first generation '09 19er with a Progressive Dynamics panel that will allow me to use lithium batteries in the future if I choose to do so. This got my nose down to the floor where I could read the fine print on the adjacent propane alarm, which stated that the alarm should be replaced every five years. Hmmm, OK, guess I should do that ,too.

These days, CO and propane alarms are available in a single combined unit, so I bought one of those and after installing it, I looked to remove my old CO alarm located in the cabinet above the bed. The fine print on the face of that unit also said to replace the unit every five years. Well and good, already done.

Now comes the interesting part. The literature in the box for the new unit explains why we need to replace the entire alarms every five years. It seems that over time the sensors in the alarms either wear out or become inoperative over the span of five years and can no longer detect the gases they are intended to detect. Furthermore, the periodic tests we are supposed to do whenever we take our trailers out on the road only determine if electricity is flowing to the test modules--they to not indicate that the units are in fact able to detect the gases if they are present in the atmosphere. That was news to me.

So here's a word to the wise. Do check your alarms as instructed for their electrical supply, but every five years replace them with new alarms that have not outlived their useful lives. Exposure to atmospheric contaminants seems to cause loss of sensitivity of the alarms over time, even though our routine testing indicates the alarms are good to go.

The alarms I replaced were original to the trailer and were 14 years old.
Fog Lark
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Old 02-13-2023, 04:26 PM   #2
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John in Santa Cruz's Avatar
Join Date: Dec 2017
Location: Mid Left Coast, California
Trailer: 2014 Escape 21
Posts: 5,308
propane alarms have a 5-7 year life. most have an EOL 'timer' that will go off and signal they are worn out by chirping or whatever. CO detectors are also 5-7 years.

smoke detectors generally have a 10 year life.
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Old 02-13-2023, 07:41 PM   #3
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CharlesinGA's Avatar
Join Date: Jul 2021
Location: 50 miles S of Atlanta, Georgia
Trailer: 2008 BigfootRV 25B21RB
Posts: 307
Ny SoB trailer came with a hardwired LP detector, and a battery powered CO/Smoke detector on the ceiling. I replaced the LP with a flush mount LP/CO combination hardwired unit and replaced the ceiling unit with the exact same device. CO is largely a neutral buoyancy gas while propane is heavier than air. I'm becoming a belt and suspenders kinda person.

Safe-T-Alert by MTI Industries 35-742-BR 35 Series Dual LP/CO Alarm - Flush Mount, Brown I might do a black front next time as it will match other devices in the trailer.

Here is what my new LP/CO detector looks like in the end of the dinette.

Here is what my old LP detector looked like after people had hung their heel on it over the years, and why I selected a flush one to replace it.

This is the exact same Smoke/CO detector that was installed by the factory in 2008.
First Alert Powered Alarm SCO5CN Combination Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detector, Battery Operated, 1 Pack, White

'03 Ram 2500 CTD, 5.9HO PacBrake six speed std cab long bed Leer top and 2008 Bigfoot 25B21RB.. Previously, 2008 Thor Freedom Spirit 180, SOLD! 2007 Winnebago View 23H Motorhome, SOLD!
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